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After pressure, Apple to start nixing iPhone apps that tip off drivers to DUI checkpoints;


NEW YORK — (AP) After pressure from four U.S. senators, Apple Inc. has said it will start rejecting iPhone applications that tip drivers off about police checkpoints for drunken driving.

Apple updated its app developer guidelines Wednesday to exclude such apps. On Thursday, some DUI apps were still available in the App Store, but Apple usually gives developers a chance to update their apps so they can conform to the new guidelines before booting them.

The apps often combine warnings about DUI checkpoints with warnings about speed traps and red-light cameras. Users of the applications help create the warnings by registering the locations.

An Apple spokesman had no comment on the change in the guidelines, and wouldn’t say why the change was made.

Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) asked Apple, Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry, and Google Inc. to remove DUI-avoidance apps in March. RIM complied, but Google refused.

Google runs an application store for phones that use its Android software. The company places far fewer restrictions on application developers than Apple does.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

 


Apple iCloud first look: iTunes in the Cloud


Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced iTunes in the Cloud on Monday, part of the forthcoming iCloud suite.Apple made its latest version of iTunes available Monday night, which included some elements ofiTunes in the Cloud.

While hardly enough to write up a full review of Apple’s new service, the update did give a basic peek at what’s to come.

To try out the service, I had to download iTunes 10.3 and have a device with the latest version of iOS, 4.3.3. That update works for the AT&T iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, and third- and fourth-generation iPod Touch.

Getting to the new features in iTunes wasn’t exactly intuitive. I had to go to the iTunes store, where I saw a new menu option on the right side of the screen — “Purchased.” You can also look at your purchased music and click the “Download Previous Purchases” link.

I clicked on that, and iTunes scanned my library to look for all the music I purchased through the store. The menu has two categories: “All” and “Not in my Library,” and iTunes sorts the tracks by artist and/or when you purchased it.

From there, iTunes downloaded all purchased tracks from my computer into the cloud.

The new version of iTunes also lets users set up automatic downloads, so that when they change something on one device, it makes the change on all their devices.

On the iPod Touch, I had a similar experience. The iTunes app had a new icon for purchased tracks at the bottom. Tapping on that brought me to a new menu showing all the songs I’d purchased and a menu breaking out the ones that weren’t already on my iPod. I hit the cloud icon next to the track and it went from the network to the cloud.

A surprising fact for me: Of the couple thousand songs I have on my computer, I had purchased only a few hundred tracks through the iTunes store. The rest were painstakingly ripped from my CD collection through the years.

Unfortunately, the paid part of iTunes in the Cloud — iTunes Match — hasn’t been released yet. That service would have matched my ripped tracks to the cloud for a fee of $24.95 a year.

Once iCloud launches I can upload my tracks to my 5GB data locker myself, for free — though it would take quite a bit of time.

All in all, iTunes in the Cloud was a smooth experience, but it’s too early to tell how useful it will be.

I am pretty sure that Google and Amazon (not to mention other online music sites) are breathing sighs of relief that Apple didn’t come out with a streaming service, too.

As iTunes in the Cloud stands now, it’s a convenient way to manage personal files, and it is expected to get better with the full release this fall. But it’s still not exactly what we were expecting — and that’s a bit of a disappointment.

 

Disney.com Becoming Content Hub For Online Video As Major Studios Embrace The Future

 

Disney LogoDisney LogoDisney is embarking on a journey which will see the company embracing the Web as a content delivery system in ways most major studios have so far resisted.

The only problem is that creating yet another means of accessing online content risks fracturing the whole industry even further than it already is.

Moving To The Web

As soon as Napster was created Pandora’s Box was opened, never to be sealed again. Once music sharing over the Internet entered the mainstream there was little point fighting to contain the problem, but the major record labels tried to regardless of common sense.

That’s not to say the music industry should have just let people share music online illegally. No, it should have concentrated on offering alternatives, and building Web services into its business plans for the future.

The television and movie industries haven’t been quite as short-sighted, having had a few years to learn from the mistakes of others, but there is still a lot of work that needs doing.

Disney Accepting Change

Thankfully the signs are there that some of the major studios and industry players have accepted the need to adapt and are gearing up for a future where almost all content is digitally distributed over the Web.

Disney is the latest to suggest a willingness to change, with CEO Robert Iger recently saying the following at the D9 conference:

“There’s going to be displacement of consumption…the opportunities to be entertained in the home are so much greater today. We view Netflix positively. It’s a good provider for our content to be accessible on. We like Hulu for a number of reasons, and not just because we’re an equity partner. It keeps people honest.”

“Because of its brand strength … [Disney.com] has the ability to be a destination. We believe we have an opportunity to deliver content directly to consumers. Disney andDisney.com is being rebuilt. It will be monetized in multiple ways.”

Content isn’t going to be free, but then I would expect nothing less from Disney. The positive point is that the company realizes the future is already happening and there’s no reason to hark back to the past. Instead, offer up content on the Web and monetize it in any way possible.

Fractured Services

There is still one major problem inherent in these plans, which is that every company has its own idea of how best to proceed. Disney.com will soon become another service where people can access content on the Web, and in many cases it will be the same content that is also available elsewhere.

We really need one service, or at worst a handful of them, to reign supreme. That may seem anti-competitive but one central location with all content obtainable from it is arguably the only legitimate way piracy is going to be turned from a norm to a niche.

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